In 2011, one of my stereoscopic pieces won the “Best Amateur Fantasy Digital” award; this year I won “Best Digital Science Fiction Work” with the piece I’ve posted above.

The interesting thing about it was how the judging went.  Each of these three judges were gracious enough to not only judge the piece, but to give me advice for improving on it and later work.  the biggest point that they made was that the piece didn’t have enough separation between the foreground and the background.  That is, the darkest darks,lightest lights, and most vivid colors should be in the front, and the contrast and saturation should decrease as the scene goes back.  This is one of those things that I knew, but didn’t properly apply in the original print.

Based on their feedback, I made some changes to the image.

I think they were spot on about how decreasing the saturation and contrast on the background makes the characters in the foreground “pop.”  I’m happy with the changes.

Big thanks to Larry Elmore, Ed Beard Jr., and Charles Urbach for the candid criticism.  This experience reminded me very much of the experience that I had during my portfolio review with ArenaNet at PAX a few years ago.  I learned a lot, they gave me good feedback, and I think I will be much better for the experience.  In the words of Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York: “that was the finest beating I ever took.”